Are you looking for a fun way to explore and learn about something new for the whole family? From history museums to art galleries, there are plenty of exciting attractions to visit throughout Fairfax County. These different museums can allow family members of all ages to learn something new together. So whether you’re seeking a relaxing afternoon filled with educational activities or an unforgettable experience packed with adventure, a museum tour is just what you need!
Historic Blenheim and the Civil War Interpretive Center
Built by Albert and Mary Willcoxon in 1859 in Fairfax City, it is a must-see destination for all visitors. The Greek revival-style brick house with 12 acres of land was purchased by the city in 1999 and has become a historical gem as it holds Federal soldier signatures, pictographs, and more that have been preserved on its attic walls. Four generations of Willcoxons called this site home until it was opened to the public – offering insight into Civil War history like no other place can! Plan your visit today!
Sully Historic Site
Sully was built and completed in 1799. Today, it stands proudly on the National Register for Historic Places and is officially recognized as an accredited museum according to the American Alliance of Museums. Visitors can explore seven buildings, including the mansion, slave quarters, and outbuildings. Guided tours highlight stories about the people who lived on the property, explore life during the Civil War and discuss different aspects of slavery in Virginia. The grounds also feature gardens and trails along Bull Run River, perfect for a stroll or picnic lunch.
Green Spring Gardens
A true gem for any home gardener, providing year-round inspiration and learning! Located in Alexandria, Green Spring Gardens offers a beautiful wooded stream valley full of ponds, 20+ thematic demonstration gardens, and more that this national historic site has in store. With multiple programs and activities throughout the year, gift shops, a greenhouse, a plant shop, and a horticulture reference library – there’s a little bit of everything for everyone!
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly is an annex of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. It provides visitors with a unique look into the history of aviation and its impact on society. The center features more than 160 historic aircraft, spacecraft, and other artifacts related to space exploration, military aviation, commercial flight, and general aviation. Additionally, the museum houses two large display hangars that provide visitors with a close look at many of these items. The facility also includes an observation tower offering spectacular views of Dulles International Airport and surrounding areas, an IMAX theater, educational programs for all ages, special exhibitions, and interactive displays on air travel and exploration.
Workhouse Arts Center
Home to a variety of interactive museum experiences. The museum features a wide range of activities, from guided tours and art classes to hands-on history lessons. Every year, the Workhouse Arts Center hosts nearly 100,000 creative minds seeking an inspiring experience. At this multidisciplinary arts center funded by its charity foundation, visitors can explore their passions and recharge with exciting community-oriented art activities. Finally, the Freeman Store & Museum is an excellent place for families to learn about the history and heritage of Vienna. The museum offers guided tours by knowledgeable docents who will provide information on various aspects of local history and culture. Self-guided tours are also available, as well as special-themed tours focusing on topics such as farming or military history.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Explore a distinguished history by traveling back in time to Mount Vernon, home of our nation’s first President, George Washington. See what life was like for the great leader and those who supported him while discovering his enduring legacy! Among the highlights of the exhibit include the harpsichord George Washington acquired for his step-granddaughter, Nelly Custis, meeting Vice Regents of the MVLA and learn who has represented your state, peeling back the layers of the Mansion with a reproduction of an 18th-century plaster wall, reading biographies of enslaved people, exploring objects in more detail using touchscreen interactives, and the photographs of Mansion rooms from the mid-19th-century to today.
National Museum of the United States Army
The National Museum of the United States Army is a testament to over two centuries worth of stories and sacrifices made by America’s military personnel. It celebrates their history, remembers those who have served honorably in defense of the nation, and looks ahead with hope for generations yet to come. Visitors can explore the interactive exhibits that tell the story of U.S. Army soldiers who have served, their experiences in combat and their contributions to America’s history. In addition, the museum also offers a variety of educational programs that cover topics such as leadership and conflict resolution. Admission to the museum is free! Get your timed-entry tickets now and guarantee yourself the best possible experience to this ArtsFairfax Awards recipient!
Lucy Burns Museum
The Lucy Burns Museum is housed in the Workhouse Arts Center, which formerly was the Lorton Workhouse prison. The prison operated from 1910-2001 and held different types of prisoners, including suffragists picketing in front of the White House in 1917. This museum was named after Lucy Burns who co-founded the National Woman’s Party. She was held for a lengthy period at Occoquan jail and was subjected to force-feeding multiple times. Community activists led by Irma Clifton spearheaded an initiative to restore the Lorton Workhouse prison and to transform it into an art center. The admission for the gallery tours are free.
There are many local museums in Fairfax County that offer a variety of activities for the whole family. Whether looking for a place to explore together or teachers wanting to make their curriculum more interesting, these museums have it all! Not only do visitors get to take part in educational experiences, but they can also create unforgettable memories at the same time. A knowledge-filled adventure awaits each person venturing into any of Fairfax County’s renowned museum tours.
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